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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rehabilitation.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, new information has surfaced about Rahim Jaffer being at a business dinner in the Toronto area on August 25. The invitations for this event introduced Mr. Jaffer as an intermediary who could help business people access government funds. That is in keeping with information on his website and his relationship with Mr. Gillani.

When did the government learn about Mr. Jaffer's activities?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear.

When allegations were brought to the Prime Minister's attention from a third party, he immediately did the right thing. The government forwarded those allegations on to the relevant authorities, including the RCMP, so it could make the determination as to what should be done with them.

That demonstrated a high ethical standard. None of the allegations that were brought forward to the Prime Minister had anything to do with government business.

Let me be clear. None of the proposals that came forward to my department were recommended for funding, and they certainly did not get any.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that despite this information and despite Mr. Jaffer's website, the Conservatives still did not refer his file to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, the Commissioner of Lobbying or any other relevant authority.

There are three possible explanations: they are siding with their Conservative friends and giving them special access and treatment; or they have allowed the culture of deceit to take root to the point that they find Mr. Jaffer's behaviour acceptable; or they are quite simply complicit.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

That is absolutely outrageous. Let me say this. When serious allegations were brought forward to the Prime Minister, he did the right thing. He did the right thing expeditiously. He referred those allegations, which have no reference to any government business, no reference to any government employee, to the RCMP so it could conduct an independent investigation and get to the bottom of them.

The Prime Minister acted expeditiously and he did the right thing.

AfghanistanOral Questions

April 22nd, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative culture of deceit is hard at work. In the last two months, only 460 pages have been delivered to the Military Police Complaints Commission. The government is hiding the documents from the commission and the commission may have to suspend its hearings.

The Conservatives are absolutely engaged in wholesale obstruction.

Why would the government allow the Conservative culture of deceit to prevent the commission from finding the truth for Canadians?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely ridiculous. The MPCC has a mandate that was actually put in place by the previous government. There are procedural safeguards built into the hearing process. Those safeguards allow for any concerns to be raised before the MPCC. That is where those concerns should be raised, if there are any.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not the so-called safeguards; it is the Conservative culture of deceit that continues to impede and obstruct the work of the commission. As I said, the commission has only received 460 pages of documents, while there are thousands of documents to be delivered. The government is even hiding documents from its censors which will never see the light of day. Only in the Conservative culture of deceit would the censors ever be censored by the government.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have no idea what the hon. member is rambling on about. If he is talking about the MPCC, the hon. member should have the confidence to let the MPCC conduct its own business. Let the commission do its work. What is the problem with that?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's National Assembly has unanimously reiterated its opposition to Conservative plans to collude with the Liberals to reduce the Quebec nation's political weight in the House of Commons.

How can a government claiming to recognize the Quebec nation proceed with this appalling plan, which was rejected by Quebec as a whole and by its elected representatives? Why is it so relentlessly attacking Quebec?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, there is something ironic about the Bloc's complaints. If their wish were granted, Quebec's number of seats would be protected. If the Bloc were to achieve its final goal, Quebec would have no seats in the House of Commons. Our government will ensure that the distribution of seats will be fair to all provinces and territories.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, if Quebec achieves sovereignty, then we will have 100% of the power, not just 22%.

According to Quebec's finance minister, Raymond Bachand, negotiations on compensation for harmonizing the QST and the GST are at a standstill because the Conservative government is demanding that Quebec give up its legislative power over taxation. This is another attack against the Quebec nation. The federal government owes Quebec $2.2 billion. It should give Quebec the same treatment as Ontario and British Columbia and reimburse this money.

Why require such an act of submission and resignation from Quebec?

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank that hon. member for reminding us that Quebec has not actually harmonized its sales tax. Negotiations continue in good faith with the finance minister of Canada and the finance minister of Quebec. We continue to hold out for a good discussion, and we would ask the hon. members to go back and talk to their colleagues in Quebec.

RwandaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, we were astounded to learn that Victoire Ingabire, who is running in the presidential election scheduled for August, was being held arbitrarily in Rwanda. Despite police harassment, she was trying to get recognition for her party, the FDU, which was founded in exile. More and more, the Rwandan authorities are acting in an authoritarian rather than a democratic way. Canada cannot stand idly by once again.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs take advantage of the Governor General's trip to Rwanda to strongly protest this arbitrary detention?

RwandaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the visit of the Governor General to Rwanda was a highly successful visit. We will continue monitoring the events in Rwanda as they move forward, and we will get back to the member with more information on that issue.

RwandaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Victoire Ingabire is unjustly accused of downplaying the 1994 genocide. This charge is possible under a so-called “genocide ideology” law, a vague and ambiguous statute that makes certain forms of freedom of speech offences, according to Amnesty International.

In view of the recent disturbing abuses by the Rwandan authorities, will the government take action by protesting the arbitrary arrests and demanding that freedom of speech be protected?

RwandaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have just mentioned, we will continue monitoring this case and if it requires intervention, the Government of Canada will intervene.

I wish to state again that Canada and Rwanda have a very good relationship and the visit of the Governor General to Rwanda was highly successful.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, access to information in Canada is at risk of being totally obliterated. Delays are eroding Canadians' right to know. Excessive delays in access to information are tantamount to censorship. This is not our assessment. Those are the words of the Information Commissioner.

Why are the Conservatives allowing their culture of deceit to withhold critical information from Canadians?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, last year over 40,000 requests for information came to government. The majority of those were dealt with within 30 days. There are about 12% of those that take over 120 days and most of those are related to national security matters.

We appreciate the advice from the commissioner and we are intending to speed up the process.

We also have added 70 other corporations and agencies to be subject to access to information. The addition of those 70 corporations was refused. The Liberals did not want that access. We have increased that access and we want to even improve it.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Talk about withholding information, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister is even trying to keep the Ethics Commissioner in the dark.

The government has repeatedly claimed to have forwarded the Jaffer-related allegations to the Ethics Commissioner, but today the commissioner said “not true”. All she received was a letter suggesting she call up two named individuals about unspecified serious concerns.

Why will the Conservatives not be forthright with the House? Why are they mired in the Conservative culture of deceit?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, when serious allegations were brought forward to the Prime Minister from a third party, he had no first-hand knowledge; none of us did. He did the right thing. He immediately referred the matter not just to the RCMP but also to the commissioner. What that demonstrates is a high ethical standard, a new ethical standard that was sorely lacking when the previous government was in power.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the nuclear safety regulator, the national science adviser, the watchdogs for the RCMP, victims and military police all did their jobs. They exposed government failures and hypocrisy and all were shunned and fired. In a culture of deceit, one either cheers for Conservatives or one is out of a job.

In opposition, the Prime Minister preached that independent watchdogs were critical to democracy. Well, not any more.

In a free and honest moment, what would Preston Manning say about a Reformer who turned his back on accountability?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. I am not sure that the opinion of a former parliamentarian is necessarily the government's responsibility, but if the President of the Treasury Board wishes to answer the question, of course we will be glad to hear his answer.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we have also increased funding to the Information Commissioner so that information requests may be dealt with more rapidly. We brought in an accountability act, the toughest probably in the history of the country. Mr. Speaker, when you look at the record of our intent, it stands very clear and very strong. We take the comments from the various commissioners seriously. We want to see it improved.

We only have to reflect back a few years on the question of what Jean Chrétien would say when asked for information. He would say no. That is what we got from the Liberals. We got no, we got scandal, and we changed that.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley, information commissioner Robert Marleau, ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro, not to mention Linda Keen, Paul Kennedy and Peter Tinsley—all of these former watchdogs have something in common: they were all dismissed by the current Prime Minister. The Conservatives' culture of deceit simply could not tolerate these people doing their jobs.

Why are senior officials who try to do their jobs systematically attacked by this Conservative government?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the deceit that reigns clearly in this chamber today is the deceit of the questions themselves.

That list that was just presented has so many errors in it, it is almost laughable except for the fact that the member is trying to present it as truth.

We expect clarity. Canadians expect clarity. On the issues where the Auditor General and the Information Commissioner have pointed out that they would like to see more rapid responses for information requests, where they would like to see increased clarity, we are moving on all of those.